By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — Going into Saturday night’s girls basketball game between Lake Stevens and Jackson, it didn’t seem like there was much on the line.
Try telling that to the Vikings.
The Vikings’ seeding going into the playoffs already had been determined, but if they wanted to share the Wesco North championship with the Stanwood Spartans, they needed a win — and they got one.
Brooke Pahukoa scored 28 points to lead the Vikings over the Timberwolves 64-57.
Although some thought the game didn’t have much meaning, Lake Stevens head coach Randall Edens said his team was very aware of what a victory would accomplish.
“The girls knew about it, let’s put it that way,” Edens said. “That means a lot. A league title is a testament to the whole season. You would hate to lose that opportunity or chance the last game of the year.”
The sixth-ranked Timberwolves didn’t make it easy on the fourth-ranked Vikings. Jackson jumped out to an early lead and held Pahukoa scoreless in the first quarter.
However, the Pahukoa-led Vikings were resilient, fighting their way back to take a lead in the second quarter. Lake Stevens maintained a lead for the remainder of the contest despite Jackson’s best efforts.
“As a player for us, there are going to be moments where she is going to have to really rise to the occasion,” Edens said of Pahukoa. “She had that sequence in the second quarter where she really did take over and allowed us to flip the script a little bit.”
Katie Goddard chipped in 17 points, including three timely 3s for the Vikings.
Kelli Kingma, Sierra Anderson and Kristin Stoffel scored 13 points apiece to pace the Timberwolves.
It was the battle that both coaches expected.
“There is no mystery to how good each team is,” Edens said.
Jackson head coach Jeannie Boyer said the Vikings “are obviously a great team. They have great athletes and they are very well coached.
“We just wanted to go out and give them a battle tonight.”
The Timberwolves did just that. Even when it appeared the Vikings had the game put away with a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter, Jackson made one more run.
“My kids are competitors,” Boyer said. “They wanted to go out and play with these guys and see if they could beat them. They took some confidence out of this. Even though they didn’t come out on the winning end, they know that they can play with them. If we fix a couple of things before the next time if we meet them in the playoffs, we are obviously hoping for a different outcome.”
Edens said that playing a quality opponent such as the Timberwolves is good for both teams as they head into the district tournament.
“It’s really important,” Edens said. “You can’t simulate situations that we went through tonight. For both sides, they are going to really benefit from this as well.”
At Jackson H.S.
Lake Stevens—Goddard 17, Gipson , Pilon 4, Pahls 2, Molstre 0, Bri. Pahukoa 7, Bro. Pahukoa 28, Long 6. Jackson—K. Kingma 13, Rawlins 1, Anderson 13, Lopez-Flores 2, B. Kingma 3, Hagans 4, M. Johnson 0, A. Johnson 2, Stoffel 13, Gjertsen 6. 3-point goals—K. Kingma 1m B. Kingma 1, Stoffel 1, Goddard 3. Records—Lake Stevens 14-1 league, 19-1 overall. Jackson 12-2, 17-3.
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Read his live blogs at www.heraldnet.com/prepzone, follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at email@example.com.